According to the new research, the German insects are able to sense an earthquake even before it hits. The ants can predict an earthquake in advance. It has been discovered by researchers that it is the preference of red wood ants in Germany to build their colonies over active faults as well as fractures where the earth tends to rupture. In Germany, at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Gabriele Berberich asserted that they had noticed a change in the behavior of ants when an earthquake having a magnitude of over 2.0 would strike the area. In addition, he added that the behavior of these ants would not return to normal even a day after the earthquake had passed.
The research was presented by Gabriele Berberich at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union that took place in Vienna. Between the years 2009 and 2012, the ants were tracked by Berberich’s team round the clock and they had discovered that there were approximately 15000 ant mounds that were lining the active faults. It was found by the team that it was the habit of the ants to keep on doing their usual activities during daytime, but they would retreat to their mounds as soon as nighttime arrived.
However, Berberich’s team found out that just before an earthquake, the routine of the ants would undergo a noticeable change. The ants tended to remain outside of their mounds even at night and thus stayed awake. They did so despite the fact that this left them vulnerable to other predators of the night. It was further stated in the research that the change in the attitude of the ants only occurred when the earthquake was over the magnitude of 2.0. This is the smallest magnitude of earthquakes that can be felt by human beings.
It is suggested by Berberich that the ants are able to sense the oncoming earthquake through the shifts that take place in the magnetic field of the Earth and also by picking up gas emissions. She said that the red wood ants possessed magneto receptors for sensing electromagnetic fields and also had chemo receptors for identifying the gradients of carbon dioxide. It is still unclear how the ants are able to react to the stimuli and in order to determine it, further research is required. Therefore, Berberich said that they wish to visit more tectonically active areas to see if they react to larger earthquakes.